Pharoah away from home

Silotank has recently delivered a range of tanks to a factory in Egypt – and continues to build on its export success

As one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and installers of custom built GRP/thermoplastic tanks and process vessels, Silotank continues to ride out the tough times by exporting.

In March 2011, 6nr high spec supertanks arrived in Port Alexandria destined for the Egyptian Starch & Glucose Factory (ESGF) in Cairo.

The six tanks, ranging from 1m to 4.5m in diameter, collectively hold 211,000 litres of either hydrochloric acid, effluent water, starch slurry, cationic water or jet water. All six tanks were of dual laminate construction. The inner chemical barrier of 6mm polypropylene was wrapped in a structural layer of glass reinforced polyester. The dual laminate vessels were designed for vacuum and positive pressure conditions and to operate at 70°C.

Silotank overcame stiff competition from France, Turkey and China by demonstrating a successful track record over the past two decades in the production of these specific type of vessels. Another key factor was the speed of production. From award of contract to delivery, all six tanks had to be ready for despatch within ten working weeks.

The tanks were shipped to Southampton on vessel carriers and then forwarded onto the port of Alexandria. In total it took 15 days from factory to site.

Mohamed Hussein of ESCF was delighted with Silotank’s performance, the build quality and the customer service he and his colleagues received. Despite the turbulence of recent months he was heartened the contract had gone to plan.

Silotank says that the dual laminate construction it produced and used on the Egyptian project is “unique”. The helical winding process has been perfected by the company over 15 years to produce high peel strength values between the thermoplastic liner and the filament wound laminate as well as high mechanical laminate strengths.

A ten-year extensive test programme in conjunction with production process improvements has resulted in consistent results being achieved time after time.

The pre-production modelling of the mechanical properties of the liner/laminate construction is carried out using Trilam software, a netting theory analysis programme which allows the composite to be optimised and highlights high strain and strain issues before production commences. This approach produces high mechanical properties in comparison with chop hoop winding technology.

While the tanks for Egpyt were up to 4.5m in diameter, Silotank is able to produce filament wound vessels from 800mm and up to 20m in length.

The company ships directly from Belfast to an array of international destinations. Building on existing and new relationships, the company’s engineers have pioneered new technologies within the storage, environmental and transmission markets.

Business in Kazakhstan, Nigeria, South America (Atacama Desert), Korea, Finland, Germany and Norway has been supported with recent shipments to Libya, Iran, Indonesia, Chile, Spain and now Egypt.

Before the recent turmoil in Libya, Silotank had been assisting the local housing associations to convert borehole water to drinking water by using its oxidation towers. The towers, made from a dual layer of GRP and polypropylene, were engineered to cope with the extreme temperatures of the region and to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the borehole water.

In the South American market the company has also shipped supersize chemical tanks to power stations in Chile. Designed to geological conditions of the region the tanks are earthquake resistant, an important factor given the earthquake which took place recently. Post earthquake inspections prove that composite tanks perform better than other conventional tank constructions, for example, steel/concrete.

The company also specialises in the construction of covers, ductwork, pressure vessels and turnkey air pollution control systems.

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